Women Against Sexual exploitation and violence Speak UP (WASSUP), our Ipswich-based youth volunteer project, has been named runner-up in the British Red Cross Humanitarian Awards.

The project was shortlisted for the ‘community action’ category. Joanna, who volunteers on the project, accepted the award from Mike Adamson, CEO of British Red Cross.

WASSUP is a peer-led support group for women in Ipswich who have experienced gender-based violence. The project offers vulnerable young women at risk of, or affected by, sexual exploitation with the support they need to access safe pathways and recover from their experiences.

The project delivers workshops in schools and other settings to raise awareness of the early warning signs of exploitation. WASSUP is multi-cultural and aims to be accessible for young people who speak English as a second language.

Tonia Wilson, project manager for WASSUP, said: “I am so proud of our team and all the hard work they put in. WASSUP aims to help those affected by sexual exploitation and violence, and I feel that this award shows that our project is making a difference for vulnerable young women.

I’d like to thank all the brave and inspirational young women who have already joined WASSUP, and urge any young woman affected by these issues to join WASSUP or a similar peer-support network.”